Shaming Other Women

The incident of Play Boy Model Dani Mathers sharing a nude photo of an unconsenting nude woman in a change room in LA spiked The Blossom Guide’s radar back in June. Not only was a nude shared to an un relentless network, but Dani also mocked and made fun of the state of the woman’s physique. The look on Dani’s face in the candid caption is similar to that of a token ‘bitchy’ girl in a D grade horror movie and clearly this young woman who had achieved success by having the ideal sexualised woman’s body was not happy with what she saw. This represented something much bigger than Dani, it reflected the general disgust women can have for other women for no other reason than the way they look. Again, this issue is timeless, and is not new to 2016, think the girl who comes from a low socio economic back ground and turns up to school unkempt with a ragged hand me down uniform or the socially awkward girl who tries too hard to be on trend at a party and is mocked and teased by the group. Yet, in this modern day the shaming and judging of other women has never been so prevalent, accessible and encouraged. Pick up any woman’s mag in Australia and you will find pictures of over-weight or average women the ‘ultimate female failure’ with the associated story of how their life is a mess, their partner left them for the hot young baby sitter and now they have no place. Or the group chat messages that constantly feature screen shots of other women’s bodies, bikini pics, dress sense, poses and associated commentary. Or the new mother who has ‘let herself go’ due to her chipped nails, regrowth and Trackie pants, gross.

Now, where sexuality is concerned this is where it can get quiet dark and even harmful to all women. Women collectively walk a fine line and personal responsibility of how they react and respond to other women’s image and behaviour. For example, a close friend of mine once revealed she could not watch The Victoria Secret Fashion Show with her partner in the room as it made her feel physically sick; the dichotomy of being too ‘ugly’ is being too ‘sexy’ this is another historical and modern day problem. The shaming of sexually overt women is just as or even more common than the shaming of less desirable women. I’m sure Playmate Dani Mathers has received her fair share of social shaming for choosing to pose naked for a living. Kimmy K’s naked selfies or most recently Chrissy Teigen’s ‘Vagina Dress’ sparked absolute uproar primarily from other women, I too had a reaction I had to unpack. Or popular ‘real’ bloggers such as Constance Hall who satirically posed in her bikini at the beach commenting on Rebecca Judd’s sexiness only a couple of weeks after twins and her own a couple years after birth. Is this healthy? Does it help women to be able to laugh that their bodies are not the same as Rebecca Judd’s? Or could we have healthier conversations on women’s identities without the constant personal comparison and mockery?

In a time based on the freedom of social expression could we even begin to not focus on the sexual overtness or lack thereof as the primary characteristic of a woman. Could Dani have put her phone away at the gym, and not glared in a female counter parts direction harmlessly getting changed after a personal workout with absolute contempt. We all have a responsibility to unpack the feelings, reaction and judgements within ourselves, which is very difficult in a society saturated with criticism and ideals.

The Blossom Guide takes this responsibility very seriously and facilitates discussion around pop culture icons, attitudes, normative behaviours and social expectations as opposed to focusing on or criticising individuals. The Blossom Guide hopes and is working towards a future generation of girls who will be empowered not to fall victim to constant comparison and the shaming of other women.

Written by Jayde Robinson-Clancy